Baby Blues

So, this is going to be another one of those not-all-sunshine-and-roses posts.

It’s true that caring for the baby has mostly gotten easier, that we’ve found a workable routine, that his smiles in the morning are pretty much the best thing ever.  Some days, most days, I feel incredibly lucky to have my life.

Other days I feel so pathetically sorry for myself.  Tired, isolated, incredibly irritable, yearning for adult interaction or maybe just something to punch.  I feel jealous of Sam for sleeping through the night, for working with grown-ups who use language, and for getting an hour to himself on the train every morning and evening.  Some part of my brain knows that going to work and having a long commute are not really things to be envied, but when I’m sunk in self-pity it’s awfully hard to hold that in mind.  I’m having a hard time feeling the partnership right now: Sam kind of blindsided me with something bad the other day, and despite his demonstrations of love and best efforts to make it right, I’m still feeling very fragile and mistrustful.  But at the same time I’m disgusted with myself for playing the suspicious, bitter, nagging, resentful wife.

I feel like there’s something I need, but I don’t know what it is or how to get it.

I’m not looking for advice or pity.  In fact in my state of mind right now I’d bridle at either.  I love my baby, I love my husband, I’m very happy most of the time: I’m only posting this because I kind of promised myself I’d be honest about recording my experience, and it’s been a pretty tough week.

9 Responses to “Baby Blues”

  • Nina Says:

    No advice, no pity. Just lots of love, and absolute faith that inside you the little creeping things are already on the move.

  • shannon Says:


    Though my love for the Roethke poem is now somewhat dimmed by my terror of Morgellons disease.

  • Nina Says:

    I’m struggling to forgive you for sending me that article. I saw a red thread yesterday night (near a red shirt, no less) and freaked right the flip out.

  • Dawn Says:

    I often wanted more “me” time when I was at home with the duo. Eventually Dom and I discovered that it helped to have specific times at the weekends when I wasn’t responsible for running after the duo. Maybe something like that would work for you?

    The human interaction thing was something I managed to get through LJ, and also a bit of the mother-and-toddler scene (about eighteen months that).

    Hope you get back to the sunshine and roses bit again soon.

  • shannon Says:

    Nina: I did warn you it was the most disgusting thing ever.

    Dawn: Thank you, we have a vacation coming up (meeting Nina in Vegas!) that I think will be just what the doctor ordered.

  • Madeline Says:

    Not advice or pity, but definitely empathy. I can very much relate. I’ve even envied my husband’s commute, too.

    The “typical day” you posted recently looks wonderful, for the most part–I’m so glad that you and Robin have settled into a regular routine, and it looks, as you said, not too strenuous–except for one aspect: it must be hard to be on your own for such a long stretch, with Sam leaving so early and getting home so late. 9:15 p.m. is lateish by adult standards, but it’s really, really late by mother-of-small-children standards. Hop and I often used to eat dinner at 8 or even 9 p.m. before we had kids; now 6:15 seems like a late dinner to me. Hop’s schedule varies quite a bit, but he’s usually home between 3:45 and 6 p.m., and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be without the second parent till after 9 on a regular basis.

    I hope the following doesn’t qualify as advice… Let’s call it “sharing.” 🙂 When Ibby was two months old, I joined a weekly baby playgroup. The human interaction was really helpful, as was the opportunity to vent to people who knew EXACTLY what I was going through. No one else is quite so eager to listen to stories about baby poop, mastitis, breast pumps, and baby food grinders–not to mention stories of isolation, frustration with the baby, frustration with one’s spouse, feeling like a stereotypical nagging wife, and losing one’s identity in an endless abyss of nursings and diaper changes. Not that I’ve ever felt any of that. 😉

    I myself, of course, am always very happy to listen to such stories, and to share my own.

  • shannon Says:

    Yeah, you’re right–it’s late, and it’s hard.

    I’m curious: is the second one any easier, or just as hard in a different way?

  • Madeline Says:

    I’ve been hearing lots of opinions on this lately. Some moms have told me they think it’s much easier the second time–you know what you’re doing, you don’t panic about every little sniffle. Others have told me they think the transition from one child to two is even harder than from none to one–that it was a huge shock to them; that once you’ve got two kids, “one seems like none”; that the work of caring for two kids is not double but exponentially greater. (I’ve also heard repeatedly that once you’ve got two kids, adding more is *not* that big an adjustment–just extra logistics.)

    My own opinion is mixed. In the “much easier” column: nursing (soooo much easier), caring for the baby’s daily needs, and dealing with common illnesses and problems. Perhaps most importantly, the second time through, you don’t have to adjust to the whole concept of being a parent, being responsible for another person’s life and well-being, or to the limitations that come with that (not much time for self or spouse, can’t go out on the town like you used to, etc.).

    Happily, the birth was also MUCH easier for me the second time, but as you know, that’s something of a crapshoot. Still, at least birth is not such an unknown the second time through.

    Under “more difficult,” the first thing I’d mention is “coordinating schedules.” My own schedule when Ibby was a baby was pretty easy. Now, I can’t go to bed early, because Charlotte nurses almost non-stop from around 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., but I can’t sleep late, because I need to get Ibby up around 7 or 7:30 and get her to preschool. (And I’m lucky that Ibby likes to sleep that late!) So that leaves me, at best, from 11 to 7 to sleep, regardless of whether Charlotte gets up once in the night or is up every hour or two for an hour at a stretch each time (as she was last night). And their naptimes rarely coordinate, either.

    Nevertheless, I’d give “easier” a slight edge over “harder.” When Ibby was two months old, I’d hardly made it out of the house at all, and it took a herculean effort for me to make one lasagna and one cake for Hop’s birthday. Charlotte will be two months old this week, and since her birth, I’ve put on a three-year-old’s birthday party, complete with chocolate rocket ship cake, cupcakes for the preschool, and a peach upside-down cake for the family, not to mention hosting Christmas for my extended family, doing all kinds of other baking projects, and getting a (sometimes kicking and screaming) 29 lb. child AND a baby into the car during a Vermont winter on a daily basis. I have a lot of mom skills now, and it’s really satisfying. Also, it’s really fun seeing the two kids together.

  • shannon Says:

    A rocket ship cake! Awesome!

    Sounds like there’s no one answer to the “easier or harder” question–it probably depends on the family, and the baby.

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